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Communicating European Identity: Media Coverage and Citizen Discourses on Turkey's Accession to the EU in Austria and the UK

Schneeberger, Agnes Inge (2011) Communicating European Identity: Media Coverage and Citizen Discourses on Turkey's Accession to the EU in Austria and the UK. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

Increasingly accelerating cultural, economic, political, and social transformations have put the question of identity firmly on public, political and research agendas. Identity has become the new master concept to give answers to the meaning of the disintegration of old structures and the creation of new ones. The fostering of a European identity has been of great interest to EU policy makers as a way to support and legitimatise the EU integration process. Drawing on constructivist identity theories which consider a significant Other as a general constituting feature in all identity construction processes, it is argued that Turkey's accession creates a unique context for analysing European identities as it poses a significant Other against which such identities are formed. The development of the Republic of Turkey from the remainders of the Ottoman Empire links the country to the image of the Eastern Other which played a crucial role in the construction of European unity in the past. Grounded in empirical data from a cross-national comparison of Austrian and British newspapers and focus groups, this PhD project explores three distinct research questions. The first question investigates as to whether Turkey functions as a focus point against which a common European identity is defined today. The second question analyses how and to what degree citizens use mediated information and personal experiences in European identity constructions. The third question examines the boundaries (i.e. differences) and modes of identification (i.e. similarities) evoked by Turkey's accession to the EU in media and citizen discourses and what they reveal about the status and definition of European identity. As previous research has largely focused on defining European identities through levels of identification in form of shared feelings of belonging to EU institutions, EU symbols or trust in fellow EU citizens, this research further highlights the importance of boundaries and differences in identity constructions. Drawing on the concepts of identification and difference, this research project proposes a more comprehensive approach to explore European identities by taking both elements of identification and othering into account. By combining media and citizens' perspectives into a comparative research design, this research forms a unique contribution to existing research.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Performance, Visual Arts and Communications (Leeds) > Institute of Communication Studies (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.557366
Depositing User: Repository Administrator
Date Deposited: 21 May 2012 15:31
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2014 11:21
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/2392

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